Champions League Men | 30 May 2014
KARLSSON gives the crown to Pontoise
The 22 year-old Swede Kristian KARLSSON provided the first ever Men`s European Champions League title for AS Pontoise Cergy, beating Orenburg`s Alexey SMIRNOV in third game of returning final clash in Russia. The host won 3:1 (11:8), but it wasn’t enough
The 22 year-old Swede Kristian KARLSSON provided the first ever Men`s European Champions League title for AS Pontoise Cergy, beating Orenburg`s Alexey SMIRNOV in third game of returning final clash in Russia. The host won 3:1 (11:8), but it wasn’t enough counting Pontoise`s home win 3:1 (10:5). It was, no doubt, unexpected ending of the 2013/14 season, knowing that Orenburg started as no. 1 seed and as two times winner in a row, but French side absolutely deserved the title.
Fakel Gazproma opened very well the rematch, having 2:0 advantage, but young Swede managed to defeat one of most experienced and most stabile players in the job. All three first encounters took five games each.
World`s no. 4 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV beat WANG Jian Jun who was twice one set up. Chinese was just two points from the 3:1 win, but German in a big style turned the match winning six points in a row (5:9, 11:9) in fourth set. Everything went smoothly for the host in fifth set.
One more narrow clash was seen between Vladimir SAMSONOV and Marcos FREITAS. Byelorussian, who fought for his 10th MECL title, missed a set ball for 3:0 win, as Portuguese succeeded to level on 10:10 in third set, after fantastic long rally. SAMSONOV had 5:1, 8:4 and 10:8 in fourth set, but FREITAS amazingly saved first match ball and soon concluded the set with big help of the net (13:11). Host again started excellent in fifth (6:2) while guest again turned the lead, having one match ball. “Mr. ECL” had a very risky but successful attack in that moment to stay in the game (10:10) and finally won.
Third clash brought the final verdict: Kristian KARLSSON again overcame Alexey SMIRNOV as hi did in Pontoise, making crucial step in late third set (8:8, 11:8). One more important moment happened on 7:7 in the fifth set, when Swede attacked sharply to move himself two points up. When KARLSSON defeated SMIRNOV in five sets, it was clear that Pontoise is new MECL champion, so the last encounter between OVTCHAROV and FREITAS could not change anything.
This is the biggest success for Pontoise in its 87 year-old history and first MECL title for French clubs since Caen beat Borussia in 1998/1999. The member of winning side, coached by Peter FRANZ, is also French rising star Tristan FLORE. Of course, this success could not be possible without well known table tennis family ADAM, President Mrs. LOUISE and Team Manager Mr. Christian.
2013/14 MECL final leg2
Fakel Gazproma Orenburg – AS Pontoise Cergy 3:1 (11:8)
1st leg 1:3 (5:10), aggregate 16:18
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV – WANG Jian Jun 3:2 (11:7, 10:12, 9:11, 11:9, 11:7)
Vladimir SAMSONOV – Marcos FREITAS 3:2 (11:8, 11:9, 10:12, 11:13, 12:10)
Alexey SMIRNOV – Kristian KARLSSON 2:3 (10:12, 11:4, 8:11, 11:6, 8:11)
Dimitrij OVTCHAROV – Marcos FREITAS 3:1 (11:7, 11:8, 5:11, 11:8